Pack of 100 huskies shot and knifed to death before being tossed in a mass grave by tour operator trying to save money
One hundred huskies were slaughtered and dumped in a mass grave after a dogsled tour company no longer needed them.
The dogs were shot or had their throats slit, while those that proved hard to kill had to be ‘wrestled to the ground and stood on’ before they could be shot in the head.
The killings came to light when the employee who carried out the cull was given compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder in Canada.
'We don't kill cows like that': The huskies were killed and thrown into a mass grave after bookings dropped. The firm pictured was not involved.
By the end of the slaughter he was said to be killing dogs ‘in a haze’ and was covered in blood.
The incident took place at Howling Dog Tours in Whistler, British Columbia, where tourists would pay around £200 for a three-hour sled ride through the valleys surrounding the town.
The two-person sleds are pulled by six dogs. But the company found it had too many animals when bookings fell following the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The details of the killings were revealed in documents from the local health and safety body, which awarded the employee – who has not been named – undisclosed compensation for stress.
The man said he was told to cull 100 of his 300 dogs after a local vet refused to destroy healthy animals, and he could not find new homes for them.
'Told to cut costs': the company had expected a surge in bookings after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler resort, pictured.
Previously he had put down sick dogs by taking them into the woods, giving them a meal and shooting them. But the size of the cull in April 2010 meant he had to kill the animals in full view of other dogs.
By the time he had shot his 15th husky, he noticed the dogs were ‘experiencing anxiety and stress’, the documents revealed.
At one point the man shot but failed to kill a husky called Suzie – the mother of his own pet dog. ‘He had to chase Suzie through the yard because the horrific noise she made when wounded caused him to drop the leash,’ the report said.
When he managed to kill Suzie, he accidentally shot another husky which had not been due to be killed, but had to be put down.
‘He also had to perform what he described as “execution style” killings where he wrestled the dogs to the ground and stood on them with one foot to shoot them.’
The report added: ‘He described a guttural sound he had never heard before from the dogs and fear in their eyes.’
It also told how he had run out of ammunition when he was attacked by an injured animal, so had to use a knife to kill it.
HUSKY FACT FILE
The name husky is thought to be a corruption of Eskie – a slang term for Eskimo.
Their extra-thick coat lets them survive in Arctic temperatures as low as minus 60C.
In cold weather, Siberian husky noses can change colour from black to light brown or pink.
Huskies make terrible watch dogs because they rarely bark, instead they make a wolf-like howling sound.
In sled races they can
manage speeds of 20mph for
20 to 30 miles every day.
A sled dog race was included in the 1932 Winter Olympics; Canada won the gold medal.
‘His memory of the final 15 dogs is hazy,’ the documents added. ‘Some he shot cleanly, others he had to chase. In some cases it was easier to get behind the dogs and slit their throats.’
Animal welfare campaigners described the slaughter as sickening.
Marcie Moriarty, of British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: ‘There aren’t words to really describe some of the ways these dogs died.’
She added: ‘Slaughterhouses have very strict rules for how supposed culling takes place. This violated every one of them.’
Graham Aldcroft, of Outdoor Adventures, the parent company of the dogsled firm, said: ‘While we were aware of the relocation and euthanisation of dogs at Howling Dog Tours, we were completely unaware of the details.’
Outdoor Adventures took over full control of the Whistler tour firm in May. It is now company policy that animals are put down by a vet.
Police intend to unearth the mass grave later in the year when the ground is no longer frozen.
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